“Hold on, we’re in charge of the machines”

I just read this brilliant interview with Aleks Krotoski in The New Zealand Listener about her new book, Untangling the Web. You should buy it NOW – I just did!

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Me behind Aleks Krotoski at State of Play conference in Singapore. I told her I was a fan right before or after this was taken. I’ve never felt more like a stalker!

My enthusiasm escalated quite early here:

Dr. Aleks Krotoski, a US-raised writer, broadcaster and academic, says real serendipity in online searches or online dating, for instance, requires an aspect of “wrongness”. “I’d be fascinated if, when you hit on Google I’m Feeling Lucky, instead of delivering exactly the results that the machine thinks you want, it delivers things that are kind of wrong, and you as a human being would go, actually, that’s taken me off in a completely different direction.” Sometimes you want exact searches, she says, but sometimes you want stuff that’s a little bit different from what you are looking for.”

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Linn – an agent for game developers?

This is the one that I am most unclear about, but it’s so closely related to part 1 of my next adventures – so I’ll let you into my foggy thoughts on the subject.

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From Walter and Marianne’s wonderful house!

I want to establish myself as some form of agent for game developers. I want to help them find the best publishing and distribution platforms for their games and I want to help them with professional PR and advertisement.

I’m very strongly influenced by Bandello and UKIE, and I hope to learn more from them.

I think game publishing and distribution is coming into a very good era, but I also think that it’s a growing into a challenging landscape to coordinate in. I want to be the woman who guides these game designers on to the paths that are right for them.

I have a lot to learn and the last couple of months have been good research for me. I’ve been using the gaming event that I’m organising with Spillmakerlauget as a base for this research, which is also why I gush so when I write about them, for they’ve been very open and welcoming. It’s been a great way for me to learn more about the game development community in Norway and what their needs are. Where’s the gap and can I fill it? I most definitely can (when did I become so arrogant?) and I see there’s a lot of potential for me to start a good business. There are some pretty amazing games in production and I sincerely want them to do well.

I’ve been wanting to get into the computer game industry for a while now, I just didn’t know how. But I truly believe that this is something I could do well.

So this is where I’m at right now:

  • I’m setting up meetings and introductions
  • I’m writing a business plan
  • I’m trying to think of a good name – but struggling. Suggestions are very welcome!
  • And I’m reading wonderful blogs such as Games Brief to get a grip on the industry
  • I’m making my own map of what publishing and distribution looks like today in the computer game industry
  • Strongly considering bankrupting myself by going to GDC Europe to start establishing the relationships I need. Are you going?

I’m sure that this will be a forum where I brainstorm more openly about how to do this. Cause I’ll be honest with you – I’m kinda scared about this whole “found my vocation in life” thing. I have days of feeling very alone and vulnerable. But then I have a meeting or a phone call with a non-believer of the industry and I find myself doing well and sounding pretty convincing (yes – I surprise myself!).  I soooo hope that it is not an illusion and that I can make this work.

Naval War: Arctic Circle

I’ve been looking forward to this game being released for a long time. And I therefore have to give a little personal rant before talking about the game:

I’m a huge fan of Turbo Tape Games. They’ve done so much excellent work in bringing the computer games industry into the spotlight in Norway and doing an excellent job in preaching the value of the industry. These guys have opened so many doors and broken down so many barriers for the future of game development in Norway – I hope that we can do it justice. I remember meeting Fredrik Sundt Breien (Managing Director) at a First Tuesday event about games (OMG! 7 years ago!). He has the charisma and enthusiasm to charm any audience into believing that games are worth investing in – which he’s done! And continues to do so as he’s speaking at (Bergen’s new innovators and The Nordic Media Festival). In many ways I guess I’m kinda jealous, cause I’d like to do the exact same thing some day.

I met the technical director, Jan Haugland, at the Industrial Gaming conference, which was also one of my first presentations of Machinima hungover – thankfully come a long way since then! We had an indept conversation about game mechanics and the genious of Tetris, the details elude me, but I remember the happy feeling of meeting a good friend that day.

As for the rest of the gang – we still haven’t reached the threshold where hugs are a natural greeting. 

So when Turbo Tape Games was established, it was only natural for me to invite myself and the cHixOrs (pre Spillpikene) to visit the headquarters at Pixel Park. My what a long way they’ve come! I remember spending a good hour in their cramped office and still having absolutely no clue what Naval War was about. All I saw was a lot of code I did not understand and a lot of indication that this game was going to be just a tad too complicated for my taste.

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But as you may have understood from the long personal rant and reminiscing – I adore them and on launch day of Naval War: Arctic Circle – I wanted to stop by and wish them good luck. I incidently had a meeting next door and thought I’d stop by with the gift of coffee and wish them good luck. They were surprisingly calm and relaxed and I felt like such a fan girl being so enthused and excited for them.

And then … I was allowed to try the game and I was scared.

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Reaching the halfway point

If you follow this blog by RSS, I may have annoyed you this last week. First let me say a huge thank you for still following me! The reason that my blogg has been Picture of "geek for life" sign on burning candleclogging your feeds is because I’m actually doing a little (!) spring clean. Years ago I transferred this blog from blogspot to WordPress and in the process lost all my tags and categories so my older posts are hard to find. At the time I didn’t think it mattered but my frustration has slowly built up with time and now that I find myself at a crossroad – desperate to impress cool people – I want to make my enthusiasm and interests more accessible.

It’s almost been fun! I’ve forgotten almost everything that I wrote so sometimes I get a little burst of pride saying “Oooh! Was I already writing about this stuff in 2006? How cool am I?!”. Other times I just cringe and may just “forget” to tag and categorise the post (still available, though).

March 2006 is coming up and I’m dead tired of all this tidying up! And I feel rather disheartened that I had been blogging for one solid year in March 2006 and that first year consists of half of all the pages I have on this blog! But I’ll get there in the end and by golly people will be impressed! And I’m certain that the offers will come rolling in after that! I’m freelance now and I desperately want to FINALLY get into the games industry!

 

The Future

So I’m sitting at my desk at university going through my thesis because I’m finally going to defend it in 2 weeks! I’m also extremely honoured and excited because I’ve been asked to be a guest lecturer for HUIN 206 & 307: Critical Approaches to Technology and Society 1&2. I’m kinda caught in the middle between scared to death with what on earth I can say of any relevance and the excited jumping up and down feeling of “YES!!!! I’ve been wanting to present this stuff for AGES!!!”. It will be fun to see which feeling wins the scale of balance when I walk in there. Either way it is a perfect opportunity for me to practice my defense by working on my presentation.

Reading through the thesis isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. It was good to take a break and read it more calmly now – I’m not 100 % pleased with it – in fact – far from it – but I’m more calm about seeing what I’ve done wrong and what needs a little bit more analysis and explaining. It’s kinda fun, you know!!!

Also, I’ve come in to university today to start working on an outline for a research fellow position that’s opened up at the department. I’m not sure I stand a chance – but I’ll hate myself if I don’t try. Department politics seems to be central on my mind. What would that professor like me to write about, what would that one – and how do I present this to convince them that they really want someone researching this stuff here – they just didn’t know it before? I think I’d love to move on to Machinima. But that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. Thought I’d read a few articles and see which angle I want to focus on. The department is really focused on democracy and media – so I’m wondering if I can lure them in somehow with ‘voices of the people’ or something. Sigh. I’ll think of something. It’s running around in my head full speed – but if you have any suggestions you’re welcome to throw them this way.

In the mean time I’ve been to a few interviews for jobs and my financial situation is making me desperate! Job hunting would be fun if I didn’t have to worry about my bills at the same time! I’ve really enjoyed all the interviews – but there’s really only been one who’s job was exciting and inspirational – and it’s in Oslo – waiting to hear from them tomorrow or Friday. It was just so extremely lovely being at an interview where I could actually talk ‘shop’ and not ‘fake’ being excited. I really genuinely was. It’s easy to put my life on pause and hold my breath till I know if the job’s mine or not – but I can’t.

I knew this would be a weird time in my life. It’s so exciting to think of the possibilities of the future – but at the same time it’s hard not to have moments of depression and self doubt. I need to feel I’m going somewhere though! So yesterday I started jogging – hehe! Didn’t get very far – but I’m hoping this will turn out to be a daily thing and notice my body getting fitter and fitter. I’ve got way too much ‘thesis’ plus ‘holiday’ fat to get rid of!!! It’s my own psychological treatment!

So we’ll see just what happens! Maybe I’ll end up with a job at my local grocery store – they’re always so friendly! Or maybe I get to work on a PhD? Or maybe I’ll move to Oslo for a great job? Or maybe I’ll move to Singapore? Or maybe I’ll have to move on to the street and be on welfare for the rest of my life?! It’s all so confusing!!! Hehe!

The Joy of Joichi Ito

Joi Ito is such a gem! He’s a joy to listen to and his thoughts encompass so much about what’s going on in cyberspace (although in this presentation he says he doesn’t believe in cyberspace anymore – and with good reasoning). I’m in awe of this man – smart, insightful and sees ‘the big picture’. I certainly enjoyed this presentation of WoW and hope you do, as well. He talks about everything, how players relate to each other, how ‘real’ the experiences are, the use of voice communication in MMORPGs, the interface design of a guild leader, the differences between Second Life and World of Warcraft , user-generated content and so much more. The presentation is from The Chaos Communication Congress. Enjoy!

Joichi Ito is the founder and CEO of Neoteny, which is a venture capital firm “committed to helping entrepreneurs build sustainable information technology businesses”. And I’m just going to cut’n’paste from Wikipedia here:

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Reputation

I’m extremely tired at writing moment, but I couldn’t sleep because my head is just filled with thoughts that I just need to get out! So please excuse me for not linking to smart people – this is just me!
I kinda freaked out today, when I realised that my whole thesis is about reputation! It’s everywhere – and I wasn’t aware of it! It really scared the bejeebles out of me! When discussing the ontological state and identity of the avatar, reputation is essential. When discussing ownership and the attachment to virtual gaming goods, reputation is important. I had an interesting conversation with a friend who’s a WoW’er a while back (may have blogged about it actually) and he had been playing Oblivion for a while, which he thought was really cool but he missed the ‘bragging’ that WoW gave him. There he could show off the gains and riches from all his labor, he couldn’t do that with a single player game. And I think this is a perfect example of why players become so attached to their virtual property.

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Gamers or players?

Oh how I hate proof reading!!! I despise it!!! The minute I start doing surgical insicions in text I loose the flow and the impulse to start all over again is just …. ahhhhhh!!!! Will I ever start writing sanely again!!!

Anyways! I’ve realized a bunch of mistakes lately! Apart from the academic stupidities I’ve also noticed that I switch from writing American to British and back all the time! But I should be able to catch most of it with spellcheck, right? Speaking of which, it now lets me write game play as one word! Is that allowed, you think? I’ll have to check up on other texts – but I rather like gameplay!

And I’ve also noticed that I’m all over the place using the words ‘gamers’ and ‘players’ randomly. I should decide on a destinction,huh? Use players when referring to so and so, and gamers when refering to so and so? Sigh! I knew that this thesis would be all about definitions – but – argh! Maybe I can play miss smarty pants in the conclusion somewhere. “I’ve used the words player and gamer randomly here in order to illustrate a point”. Yeah! That’s sounding good to me right now! I’m sure I’ve got it all somewhere in my pile of notes somewhere!

What I’ve learned – Part 1

I’m wrapping up my typology of TSO players and intellectual property rights chapters this weekend and I’m getting kind of sentimental and sad about ending a chapter in my life also – and all my…ehm…work being visible on paper. I could have easily finished this sucker a year ago, but then I would have missed out on a few thoughts and new insights. But I suppose that also has contributed to my low self esteem and the constant second guessing of my thoughts, memories, sentences, conclusions, understandings, sanity and intelligence. So I’m not recomending the extra year, far from it, but I’m just saying that I’m glad I took it. I’ve had such a great time, learning so incredibly much – both relevant and irrelevant.

One thing that I absolutely adore and despise about Media Studies is that it encompasses so incredibly much! Back in my bachelor days I never quite got into the spirit of ‘reading’ film – I mean, sure! I loved reaching for hidden meanings and mis-en-scene and – well, to be honest I’m getting bored just writing about it now, so maybe ‘love’ is too strong a word here. Two semesters of film classes was quite enough for me. Anyways…I was lucky and privileged to have Tiziana Terranova introduce me to…ehm…I think we called it Cyberculture, back then (1997-2000) – which blew my mind and woke my desire to learn more! I remember becoming a huge Baudrillard and Foucault fan and discussing hyperreality with passion at the local pub. Ooooh! I’m about to give you my life story here aren’t I? I suppose my point is that I come from a Media Studies background, a part of the Cultural Studies movement (?). On paper I can supposedly ‘read’ film, pictures, commercials and understand media politics (hahahahaha!) and well at least discuss the issues of identity in media and semiotics.

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